Dan Martin hoping for safe time trial, says test will be ‘incredibly hard’ for riders
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dan Martin hoping for safe time trial, says test will be ‘incredibly hard’ for riders

by Shane Stokes at 6:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
“I think it is the most technically demanding time trial there has ever been in the Tour de France”

Dan MartinIrish pro Dan Martin had a quiet performance in last week’s flat time trial, finishing three and a half minutes back in 62nd place, but believes that the difficult terrain in today’s test could suit him considerably better.

The Garmin-Sharp rider improved a place to tenth overall yesterday and will dig deep against the clock today. He sounded relatively confident when he spoke to VeloNation about what lay ahead. “At this stage of the race, it is very much about freshness rather than time trial ability,” he said. “Also with the climbs, the time trial will hopefully suit me pretty well. I am hoping to make a good result.”

Known primarily as a climber, time trials are not his natural forte but he has pulled out some good performances against the watch in the past. He was twelfth in the final time trial in the Tour de Suisse in June, with that performance largely based on a strong ride on the long climb to the line.

“That shows I can be competitive in time trials,” he said. “And I think I am in a better position this time. Obviously I am feeling pretty good at the moment. We can see that guys are getting tired now and hopefully I can use that to my advantage.”

Martin himself lost some time yesterday, finishing in a group one minute behind that of the race leader Chris Froome (Sky) and the other main contenders. He had gone on the attack at the start of the stage, bridging across to the big break that was clear at the time, although the riders then refused to work with him as they considered him to be a threat.

“I made it into the breakaway but Sky were chasing me down. We didn’t really expect that, we thought they would let me go a little bit as I was over eight minutes back before the stage,” he said. “Yet they chased very hard. That was unfortunate because the other teams then were riding against us and not against Sky.

“All the other guys in the breakaway stopped riding because I was there, and just looked at us. It is frustrating when we are trying to take the race to Sky and everyone else is riding defensively rather than aggressively.”

With the break stymied by that lack of impetus, the bunch came back to the move. Another one pressed forward with several of the same riders involved, but Martin remained in the bunch. However he believes that he may have paid a later price.

“I think the energy I used then might have cost me in the final. I believe I could maybe have been in the select group at the finish with the yellow jersey,” he said.

Aside from going as quickly as possible in today’s test, Martin also hopes that he stays upright. Ag2r la Mondiale’s Jean Christophe Peraud crashed this morning while checking out the course, underlining Martin’s concerns that it could be very trick.

“We are just hoping that the weather isn’t bad…the rumour is that it is going to be raining,” he said. “If so, that will make the TT more difficult with the two technical downhills that are involved with it.

“I reconned the TT back in June – the first descent is a really dangerous, technical downhill. And the second one is a very, very fast. I think it is the most technically demanding time trial there has ever been in the Tour de France. It is also incredibly hard – I think there is a 1200 metre altitude gain in 32 kilometres.”

Because of that, Martin had a new TT machine made up for him by the Garmin-Sharp mechanics. “Normally I use the Cervélo P5, which is a pure time trial bike built for flat speed rather than climbing. It is consequently heavier than the normal bike,” he said.

“For this time trial, I am using the Cervélo S5 instead. It is the aerodynamic road frame, and the mechanics have dressed it up as a time trial bike. It is not quite as aerodynamic as the P5, but it is a hell of a lot lighter. It gives us the best of both worlds, and hopefully we will be competitive as a result.”

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